It's eight o'clock on a Sunday morning and I am on my way to an apartment in Monroeville, Pennsylvania where we are going to shoot a scene for a film as yet to be named. It is not either the film that Russell Crowe is currently filming in the area or the film that stars Jake Gyllenhaal. There won't be crowds of techies and 'gofers.' There won't be any craft services. There won't be a big check and a contract for residuals. What there will be is a director who has put together a couple of bucks from his savings, borrowed some from friends and relatives, and perhaps maxed out on a credit card or two. There will be a friend of his to set up lights and maybe somebody from a local film school to hold the boom. There will be a young actress working in her first movie and there will be me.
I am supposed to be playing a therapist. The director has emailed the script for the scene, and I have gone over the dialogue. I have not seen entire script. I have no idea how the scene fits into the rest of the movie. I'm not even certain what kind of therapist I'm supposed to be. The young actress is the patient. She seems to be hearing voices because of something that happened in her past, but presumably the audience will understand what the problem is, because the scene itself never says.
The director and I have talked over the phone, but I really have no idea of what he is looking for in the character I am going to play. All he has told me is that he wants the character to be very calm and speak low. The dialogue itself seemed somewhat stilted, a bit unnatural. I'm not at all sure I would be able to speak it with any conviction, but when I mentioned my concerns, the director seemed willing to make changes as long as we kept to the sense of the original, remained calm and spoke low. So, I agreed to do the scene. Let's face it, western Pennsylvania, despite the presence of Crowe and Gyllenhaal, isn't exactly awash with opportunities for aged aspiring actors.